By Yitzi Weiner and Casmin Wisner
“When you’re a young entrepreneur without any prior experience in business, navigating the world of funding and early hiring can be daunting. I started GO VC to give founders the strategic and financial support necessary to successfully launch a startup…”
Taking the risk to start a company is a feat few are fully equipped for. Any business owner knows that the first few years in business are anything but glamorous. Building a successful business takes time, lessons learned, and most importantly, enormous growth as a business owner. Sean Brown, founder and CEO of GO VC, a leading Orange County based VC firm, has started and sold dozens of companies throughout his professional career.
We sat down with Sean to reflect on what worked and what didn’t when he launched his first company. From ah-ha moments to his most valuable lessons learned, Sean reveals to us that there’s beauty in the journey to success.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your backstory?
To be honest, I’m not really sure that I ever made the conscious decision to become an entrepreneur. That being said, I think I’ve always known I wanted to start my own business and be in control of my career.
I grew up with my mother and grandparents in Orange County, and both of them supported my decisions from an early age. I started my first internet marketing business when I was 15 — a sophomore in high school, and I started investing in real estate soon after the end of my senior year.
After starting multiple technology businesses of my own that specialized in online advertising, marketing, and software development, I shifted my focus towards providing value through venture capital. My latest idea turned into GO VC, a new venture firm that brings industry-leading marketing and strategy experts to startups in need of early stage funding.
Can you share what inspires or most interests you?
I’ve always been extremely interested in how young entrepreneurs leverage emerging trends to start businesses and generate sustainable revenue. From YouTubers to Instagram influencers and social media celebrities, it never ceases to amaze me how teenage entrepreneurs are disrupting traditional marketing channels and growth hacking their way to millions of dedicated fans.
So what does your company do?
I’ve always believed that it takes a lot more than capital to make a startup successful. Launching a business requires the right strategy, a perfect team, and a solid product-market fit. At GO VC, we help startup founders focus on the development of their products while we handle growing their business. From audience testing to media buying, GO VC is made up of founders, strategists, social media marketers, and growth hackers that specialize in launching startups successfully and sustainably.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Aside from donating to several local charities, I’ve always believed that it’s my responsibility to share my knowledge with other entrepreneurs and mentor young founders. It’s easy to come up with a great idea, but finding the right people to help you execute that idea is hard. When you’re a young entrepreneur without any prior experience in business, navigating the world of funding and early hiring can be daunting. I started GO VC to give founders the strategic and financial support necessary to successfully launch a startup, while at the same time personally helping them market their product and build a sustainable business.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I launched my startup,” and why?
1. Always team up with people that are smarter than you are.
2. Be meticulous about creating and protecting your brand.
3. Don’t lose sight of the competition; you can always learn from their mistakes and their accomplishments.
4. Don’t focus on only selling. Focus on providing value.
5. Find clients/customers that make you passionate about your work.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to interview and be in touch with some of the biggest names in business, VC funding, sports, and entertainment. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
Right now, I think my top choice would have to be Elon Musk. I admire his creativity, and as an entrepreneur, his drive is unmatched. His ability to ignore the industry and pursue projects regardless of other people’s opinions is seriously impressive. None of his companies were started to capitalize off of a trend or ride a popular industry — everything he does is focused on making the world a better and more sustainable place for generations to come.
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If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.